Maybe things are going well in your current role. Perhaps you’ve been in the job market and out of the military for several years, or even a decade or more. On the other hand, maybe things are going not so well. You could have one or two co-workers, or the entire floor, that you can’t stand to be around. Maybe you’re thinking of leaving the company, or going in a different direction altogether. Before either one of these scenarios rears its head, you need to have honed a perishable, yet effective skillset: job interviewing.

But Pete, if I’m doing great in my job now, and have a good path forward, why do I need to worry about interviewing? What are you not telling me?

It’s quite simple. Life happens. And with life comes change.

That change could, of course, come voluntarily or involuntarily. If you are indeed doing well in your role, and progressing quickly in it. One of two things will most likely follow: 1) you will be promoted and take on a bigger role within the company; or 2) you will get recruited by somebody else. Either way, you will have to interview on some level. At a minimum, you will have to speak with the hiring manager of the possible internal role. At most, if the job seems attractive enough, you’ll need to apply for and interview in multiple rounds of interviews for the external opportunity.

Then there’s the unfortunate, involuntary route. Your company downsizes (or “right-sizes†as they say now), hits economics pressures or decides to sell off your business. In these cases, if you find yourself out of a job, you will of course, need to find another role in a new organization. To make matters worse, the clock is ticking with this option. Wouldn’t it be great to already have your interview skills prepared so that you don’t have one more thing to worry about, in addition to “how am I ever going to afford guacamole now�

Thirdly, getting in regular practice like with anything else, will increase your confidence. Sometimes as we get caught up in the daily grind, we forget to take stock of where we are and what got us to the position we are in today. Maybe it will provide us the boost we need to go above and beyond in our next endeavor. When you’re comfortable talking about yourself and your accomplishments in the context of an interview, it will help you get comfortable with a lot of other types of conversations; except maybe subtly telling your co-worker that they should shower more often. That never gets comfortable.

So how should we go about keeping our skills fresh? What should be our plan?

First of all, to interview well, you need to have fresh material to discuss. One good practice to enact anyway in your career, mainly for year-end purposes, is to keep a log or a journal of your accomplishments. That way, you don’t have to think about it when you’re putting it into your annual review summary, and you can just transfer it to your resume.

Second, maintain at least a couple of practice partners. Ideally, these should not be people with whom you interact frequently, let alone every day. You want someone who is not used to your mannerisms and way of speaking. Those people have in effect become “nose-blind†to your quirks and habits, and most likely won’t be able to give you good feedback with a fresh set of eyes.

The last thing I’d suggest is to have ideas in mind for the next ideal role. Whether or not that is in a new industry or a new company is irrelevant. Once you have the goal or the destination in mind, you can tailor your resume and your responses to questions for that particular role. This is good not just for your interview practice, but for your career development in general.

It doesn’t have to be every single week. But if you dust off the old resume and mahogany shelf-lined Zoom background every once in a while, and get your reps in, you will be prepared when the time comes.

If you’d like an extra leg-up and want to simulate a real job interview with a real person, please sign up for Candorful here. Free for veterans, and instant feedback!

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